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The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (P.S.)

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The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (P.S.) Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. Arthur Lecomte and Art share the same name. What is the significance of this?

2. As their friendship blossoms, Art even begins to "affect an over grammatical, precious manner toward people,"(page 57) following Arthur's example. Does Art want to be Arthur? Why?

3. "I had the impression that as far as Arthur and Jane were concerned, Cleveland flew, or had flown, as far above their twin blond heads as I saw them flying above me?but he had fallen, or was falling, or they were all on their way down." (Page 38-39). Art meets up with his newfound friends at the end of college. What draws them all together?

4. Do Jane, Arthur, and Art unrealistically idolize Cleveland? What does Cleveland represent to the three friends? Is his death the inevitable severing of their fragile friendships?

5. Describe Art's relationship with his father. Does he resent his father more for his mob connection or for the death of his mother?

6. Art's mother's death is a mystery up until Art blurts out in the hospital, "Ever since what, Lenny? They killed my mother instead of him?" (Page 290). How does that explain Art's uncertainty throughout the story, his childlike behavior around his father, his reluctance to talk about his mother to Phlox, and/or his insecurity about his masculinity?

7. After Art introduces Cleveland to his father, Art realizes he has lost any remaining respect his father may have had for him. What makes Art turn to Arthur for solace?

8. What does the Cloud Factory represent to these characters?

9. Is Cleveland a genuine friend of Art's, or an opportunist?

10. Aside from Art's troubled relationship with his father, explain Jane's, Cleveland's, and Arthur's relationships with their parents, and how these relationships shaped the characters.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

amber.pasternak, March 10, 2008 (view all comments by amber.pasternak)
I'm consistently surprised by how many people like this book. As a previous commentor mentioned the sex scenes are terrible. But I didn't think anything else was much better.
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(9 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
manwith7talents, December 11, 2007 (view all comments by manwith7talents)
I enjoyed reading this book and I liked the characters. However it has some of the worst sex scenes I have ever read, both hetero- and homo-sexual, and plenty of them. Eventually, I started skipping over the sex scenes to read the rest of the book, which is actually pretty good.
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(11 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060790592
Author:
Chabon, Michael
Publisher:
Harper Perennial
Author:
by Michael Chabon
Subject:
General
Subject:
City and town life
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Trade PB
Series:
P.S.
Publication Date:
20050731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.02x5.34x.74 in. .52 lbs.

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The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (P.S.) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.99 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Perennial - English 9780060790592 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Pulitzer Prize-winner Chabon's first novel (written for his master's thesis at UC Irvine) was published when he was twenty-five, and quickly became a bestseller. Set in the steel ciy, this hilarious coming-of-age story tells the tale of Art Bechstein's first summer after college. Themes, such as confused sexuality, identity crises, and displaced ambitions, and vivid characters (a father who is a Jewish mobster, a capricious librarian named Phlox) combine to form an uproarious and lyrical narrative. Strong characterizations and resplendent prose mark Chabon's debut, an unforgettable book that is both charming and poignant.

"Review" by , "There's a lot of talk about this novel. It's almost as if there's going to be a great big literary bash. The guys who will be on the guest list are a cinch. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield....And now, from The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Art Bechstein."
"Review" by , "A very daring, vivid and exciting book."
"Review" by , "Absolutely terrific....Anybody can write a realistic account of his first postgraduation summer of growing up and making love, but to make such a story the stuff of legend, as Chabon has done here (and Fitzgerald did before him), takes something close to genius."
"Review" by , "[A] very funny and very eloquent book — a book that both earns and wears easily such adjectives as 'brilliant'...The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a funny, charming, hugely entertaining and excellently written book."
"Review" by , "Remarkable....What makes this book — and Chabon — worth our attentiation is [that] Chabon has chosen not merely to record all the ills of an oversexed, overindulged generation with nowhere to go but to bed or to a bar; he has chosen to explore, to enter this world and try to find what makes it work, why love and friendship choose to visit some, deny others."
"Review" by , "Chabon's writing is deft and delicate — almost every page includes a delightful phrase or two. He mingles dialogue, the Pittsburgh cityscape, descriptions of the characters' acticity and Art's thoughts and feelings to achieve that magical illusion good novels give — that the reader is living the character's life with all its savors, jokes and pangs."
"Synopsis" by , Chabon provides a brilliantly fresh first novel and national bestseller about the joys and pains of youth coming of age. "Astonishing....The voice of a young writer with tremendous skill as he discovers, joyously, just what his words can do." New York Times
"Synopsis" by , The enthralling debut from bestselling novelistMichael Chabon is a penetrating narrative of complexfriendships, father-son conflicts, and the awakening of a young mans sexualidentity. Chabon masterfully renders the funny,tender, and captivating first-person narrative of Art Bechstein,whose confusion and heartache echo the tones of literary forebears like The Catcher in the Ryes HoldenCaulfield and The Great Gatsbys NickCarraway. TheMysteries of Pittsburgh incontrovertibly established Chabonas a powerful force in contemporary fiction, even before his PulitzerPrize-winning novel The AmazingAdventures of Kavalier & Clay set theliterary world spinning. An unforgettable story of coming of age in America, itis also an essential milestone in the movement of American fiction, from anovelist who has become one of the most important and enduring voices of thisgeneration.
"Synopsis" by , By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
"Synopsis" by , Now reissued, Michael Chabon's "New York Times" bestselling first novel is a funny, tender coming-of-age novel that introduces readers to Art Bechstein, a Holden Caulfield for the post-Boomer/pre-Gen X-er generation. Chabon's first novel was universally lauded as the arrival of a rare and remarkable new literary talent who has proved to be one of our most profound and original writers.

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